A lot of constituents have emailed me about the dreadful shambles of Universal Credit. I have already been assisting constituents who’ve had their payments cut or removed entirely under the new system in a very unfair way.
The Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey has now been forced to admit that under the changes some people will be significantly worse off despite disgraceful efforts to gag charities like Citizens Advice Bureau from speaking out on the truth about Universal Credit. All credit to the over 80 disability organisations, the Child Poverty Action Group, the Resolution Foundation and others asking the Government to stop the roll out. The Government’s own National Audit Office said back in June that the rollout should be “paused” and found that “Universal Credit has not delivered value for money and it is uncertain that it ever will.”
In the Labour Party we believe that nothing less than a radical overhaul of Universal Credit will fix this failing system and we have repeatedly called on the Government to stop the rollout. It is clear that that Universal Credit is hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. We have again seen that women will be the majority of those who will suffer the biggest cuts under Universal Credit, women who are single parents, working and relying on the work allowance element of Universal Credit.
Labour secured a debate on Universal Credit where we raised our and your concerns with the Government as well as demanding again that the rollout is halted. The Government has been forced to extend the so-called managed migration process but this is not enough.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t speak in the debate as I had a Select Committee hearing at the same time. I have previously supported motions in Parliament for major changes to be made and for the roll out to be stopped. I have also repeatedly questioned ministers in Parliament and in writing about what they are doing to mitigate the clear impact Universal Credit is having on vulnerable people. Their responses have clearly demonstrated that looking after the vulnerable is simply not their priority.
You can find the links to the motions and Questions below;
|Early day motion 381 – UK Parliament
That this House is concerned that research from Citizens Advice indicates that over half of claimants of universal credit are in debt, putting huge anxiety…
|Early day motion 921 – UNIVERSAL CREDIT – UK Parliament
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Universal Credit (Miscellaneous Amendments Saving and Transitional Provision)…
Universal Credit does not work. 25% of applicants cannot finish their application. The Government made the assumption that everyone can access the internet which is plainly wrong. There are claimants who cannot afford a computer, are very ill in hospital or who live in areas whose library service has been decimated by the Government’s austerity programme. The 5 week wait before payment is cruel, expecting families to find 2 months’ rent or go a whole half term of school without support. It is no wonder we are seeing debts, food bank use and evictions rise in areas where Universal Credit has been fully rolled out.
I will continue to raise the issues and challenge the Government. I offer advice to constituents having trouble with Universal Credit about how and from whom they obtain help and support.
Details for my advice surgeries across the constituency can be found on my website below;